WHO ARE CARERS?
Carers are mums, dads, grandparents, siblings and other family and friends who look after someone who becomes sick through Cancer, Medical Conditions, Accident, Mental Health or Aging or Disability.
Carers are also children as young as eight years old. They provide any type of emotional or physical support, for any amount of time.
Most of us don’t think it’s anything special to be a Carer. It’s just a part of life. We’re just doing what you do as a mum, dad, daughter, son or friend. While this is true, caring for someone who is sick is an unavoidable part of relationships, caring for someone also has risks to your physical and mental health.
ANYONE…AT ANYTIME….CAN BECOME A CARER – Through Accident, Cancer, Medical Illness or Mental Health
There are Currently over 2.7 Million registered Carers in Australia, and most likely more that are not registered.
Carers save the economy over $82 BILLION Annually, which is over $1.4 Billion per week! The entire Medical system would collapse without family Carers doing what they do, so The Carers Foundation Australia identifies and acknowledges that these Carers need to be supported physically, emotionally and mentally.
Facts about Caring and how it affects the Health of Carers are below
The Carers Foundation Australia is particularly passionate about Caring for Young Carers.
DID YOU KNOW THERE ARE CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS EIGHT YEARS OLD IN A CARING ROLE?
These young people usually DO NOT choose to be a Carer, as often the other parent has either passed away or more commonly left the family. The young person then becomes the soul responsible person in that household, left to care for their sick Parent help care for their sick or disabled sibling.
These young people give up their childhood years to help care for their loved one. Often they don’t even identify themselves as a carer. They miss out on school, have very few friends and are often socially isolated. This leads to quite severe Mental Health Issues, including significant Stress, Anxiety, Depression leading to suicides.
The reality right now is that there are 420,000 Young Carers in Australia under 24 and many people have no idea they exist and 2 out of 3 have serious mental health issues.
YOUNG CARER FACTS ARE;
• 50% living in circumstances of disadvantage
• 60% unemployed
• 40% don’t finish high school
• 2 out of 3 have a mental illness such as major anxiety disorders, isolation issues, and severe depression, leading to suicide
• Research has proven that Young carers are amongst the most marginalised groups in the Australian community
• Moments of happiness &possibility are few and far between for these young people
These young people need our Support to be identified, acknowledged, empowered and nurtured.
WHO CARES FOR THESE YOUNG PEOPLE?
You can help Support one of these Young Carers by sponsoring them to attend our Health Restoration and Mental Health Resilience programs by clicking HERE.
YOU CAN HELP CHANGE THE LIFE OF A YOUNG CARER WITH OUR LIFESAVING PROGRAMS
Barriers to Carer Mental Wellbeing
More than 8 in 10 carers describe themselves as “lonely or socially isolated” due to their caring responsibilities. Most do not have any friends, or friends that understand their situation. Their external family do not understand. The extreme Social Isolation can lead to depression and anxiety, and often suicidal thoughts.
They don’t access support
62% of carers do not receive any support from organised services.
Many Carers do not identify themselves as Carers as they consider it their job to be looking after their loved one. However Carers need support, as they rarely find time to care for themselves and ultimately their own health is adversely affected.
Physical Pain and Abuse
Carers are more likely than is normal to be experiencing chronic pain due to the relentless demands of caring. Carers are also more likely to be carrying an injury due to caring from lifting, and moving their loved one.
Often Carers can suffer incidental physical abuse, whether it is from an agressive loved one with Alzheimer’s, or their child on the Autism spectrum; however they usually never report this since it is caused by the person they are caring for.
82% of carers say their Sleep is negatively affected by caring, usually because they have to be on call 24/7 for the person they care for. Whether it is administering medications, changing linen, or turning or their loved one in pain or not sleeping for other reasons. This obviously affects their long term mental wellbeing and ability to Cope.
Many are “hidden carers”
79% of carers do not identify as a carer so don’t understand the risks or the support available. This particularly applies to younger carers.
50% of primary carers are on a low income and from disadvantaged backgrounds, with many finding it hard to cover living expenses. Therefore they cannot afford to care for themselves as they would like, nor do they have any spare money to have time away to recharge.
Mental Health Issues
All the extreme anxiety, stress, exhaustion, financial hardship, social isolation, physical injuries, frustration, mean care givers have the lowest level of mental and physical well-being of any Australian group. Many carers suffer sever depression, see no hope and consider suicide. Unfortunately many do.
What is a resilient carer?
Resilience is an important psychological resource that can be strengthened to promote positive outcomes in caring. Building resilience means helping carers develop their internal resources to cope better with their situation, as it is today.
It involves the development of personal and professional networks that enable carers to resist stress. It is also about developing a hopeful outlook and a sense of confidence in their abilities, while remaining realistic about the future.
Resilience changes everything
- Find more enjoyment and satisfaction in their role
- Experience personal growth through caring
- Find a greater sense of purpose in caring
- Have confidence in their abilities
- Find it easier to manage their emotions
- Are less likely to transition their loved one into institutional care